“90% (of Millennials) define being an entrepreneur as having a certain mindset today versus starting a company, and you can see this era of the independent, entrepreneurial mindset taking hold. One of the misconceptions that’s coming up a lot is that Millennials are the “me” generation, but I think what is really going on here is that they understand that they have to be in charge of their own careers and not rely on companies.” Dan Schawbel, Millennial Branding CEO (Cbsnews.com, May 16, 2013)


Description

Global financial uncertainty and the seemingly unceasing instability of the job market have employees facing high anxiety and stress, especially when they’re surrounded by educated, highly qualified and yet unemployed friends. Millennials have disrupted the labor market, outdating the idea that people would go to college, study hard, get a degree, and assuredly land an entry-level job at a big, stable company. With company loyalty no longer a part of the equation, being an employee in the modern workplace isn’t all that different from being an entrepreneur: uncertainty and volatility is part of the game; there’s no guarantee of a promotion or pay raise; and most firms today operate in a similar environment of rapid change and disruptive innovation. With traditional career paths shaking, Millennials are increasingly exploring escape routes and fallback options, hoping to gain some stability and independence from their employer’s fate. Striking out on their own is far from a guarantee of success, but for a growing number of people, bringing more personal control within reach is worth the risk. Armed with a do-everything-yourself mindset, young entrepreneurs are powering forward to take on the bittersweet experiences of business. The most optimistic perceive the shifting financial sands as a timely opportunity to give lift to their entrepreneurial dreams. As entrepreneurs grow in strength and numbers, some established brands have been somewhat slow to react, but as the trend bubbles, altering notions of success and consumer need, brands of any size will need to adapt.

The mindset

The traditional career path is dying. Entrepreneurship is not an escape route or a fallback option anymore. Today’s young adults demand a lot from their work. It’s not just about putting food on the table anymore, it’s about feeling good about what you do and doing it on your own terms. Millennials’ goals have shifted from job stability to life fulfillment, and their definition of “success” has changed in the same way. Technology has given them the option to get creative with their lifestyles — to work from home, wherever that may be. 30 years ago, this would have been unimaginable, but the idea of getting rid of corporate-centric routines and living life on other people’s terms is growing.

Millennials’ goals have shifted from job stability to life fulfillment, and their definition of “success” has changed in the same way.

They demand a freer work environment, with project-based work instead of minding their desk 9-5 everyday. With fewer jobs available, individuals have had to get more creative with their careers: they are freelancing, consulting, running their own businesses and working from coffee shops rather than cubicles. And with this shift in employment patterns comes an intoxicating need for independence that manifests by living where they choose.Travelling while working is also preferred over vacation for Millennials. Firstly because taking two weeks of vacation during summer is no longer enough for this group of people who enjoy taking their time, and secondly because doing something by one’s own terms doesn’t really feel like work anymore.

The drivers

Entrepreneurship has traditionally been characterized by ambition, passion and the desire to amass large amounts of wealth. The newer entrepreneurs are more tempered in their aspiration, wanting to make enough for a comfortable livelihood and leaving the growth of the business to time. According to “Millennials and the future of work” survey commissioned by Millennial Branding and ODesk, today 90% of people think entrepreneurship is a mindset rather than the act of actually starting a company. Today 90% of people think entrepreneurship is a mindset rather than starting a company. 72% of people want to quit their job to be entirely independent and 61% say they are likely to quit within two years. Among the reasons driving consumers to go solo, freedom comes first. Young people want to gain their independence and be their own boss; they no longer accept hierarchy and authority from others. Secondly, entrepreneurs feel equally strongly about being able to shape the contours of their job to follow their passions and personal ambition rather than follow the diktats. Thirdly, they seek out more flexibility in their work places and hours – 92% want to work wherever, 87% want to work whenever, 64% want to travel for work – they want more agility, more rapidity in the decision-making process, more open mindedness regarding disruptive ideas or breakthrough innovations.

Today 90% of people think entrepreneurship is a mindset rather than the act of actually starting a company.

They enjoy being able to self-manage their time as well as their finances. From a financial perspective, with the risk aspect set apart, they strongly believe they will make more money than with a standard full-time position in a big corporation. Last but not least, it is particularly the interior pride they draw from their own success– or at least their efforts to reach it– that drives them. Overall, this kind of experience brings a lot of self-accomplishment and self-confidence, two values that are in high demand among people. Consumers take to entrepreneurship when they see gaping holes in the market and seek to fill them up using their skills and know-how.

A supportive environment

Once thought of as too risky and unstable, entrepreneurship has emerged across the globe as a solution to the growing financial uncertainty. What has changed is the great push given by governments as well as the support brought by family and friends to entrepreneurship initiatives. Considered as risk-takers, entrepreneurs benefit from massive public support all over the world. In Brazil, SMEs (small and medium enterprises) could soon be exempt from paying taxes for the first two years of their new business if a new bill becomes law.

What has changed is the great push given by governments as well as the support brought by family and friends to entrepreneurship initiatives.

In Germany, China, US and UK, the government has removed many legal and bureaucratic hurdles for startups. Entrepreneurs are embracing the anxiety that comes with solo ventures. The trend is rapidly leaving behind the envious fence-sitters who are taking their time to assess the challenge. In terms of infrastructure, the new iteration of coffee shops is providing a multi-tasking and nomadic workforce with crowdsourced designs, creating community hubs in which to socialise, network and share amenities. Beyond the basics of power sockets and wi-fi, new café designs with workers in mind provide a varied spatial landscape, including areas to be social, private and to entertain. Also, incubators in business schools not only provide tech facilities but also many other services such as legal advice, accountancy, access to software programmes, access to the network of teachers and other academic programmes, access to the Business Angel funds, the business school’s partners network and more.

Featured examples

 

Timespace by The New York Times

Credit: Nytimes.com

Credit: Nytimes.com

At a time when coworking and business schools incubators are en vogue, the New York Times has launched ‘Timespace’, a program aiming to welcome young startups that want to enter the journalism and digital media industries into their headquarters’ offices. Located in New York City, the famous newspaper can now accommodate small-scale businesses for four months. Applications are open to candidates that want to seize new opportunities; once accepted, they have to meet New York Times Investment to obtain funds to launch their business.
United States of America United States, March 2013

 

Coworkshop

Credit: Coworkshop.fr

Credit: Coworkshop.fr

A multitude of cafés are now designed to enable independent workers to work in convenient and comfortable conditions, often in better conditions than those in traditional office spaces. The latest to open in the heart of Paris is Coworkshop, calling itself “Le Café des Freelances”, and it has two particularities. First, the space has been conceived as a café and coworking space with free Wi-Fi where customers pay according to the amount of time they spend in there; second, it provides dedicated offices in the back for those seeking an office for a few hours or a few months.
France France, July 2014

 

Autoentrepreneur App

Credit: AppStore

Credit: AppStore

A couple of smart and useful smartphones apps have been designed to help the daily life of an entrepreneur. With Autoentrepreneur, those concerned can calculate their expenses and keep a diary of their activities, have a newsfeed of the information related to their business field, and schedule interviews with professionals who share their innovative ideas, projects, experience. Thanks to MonAutoEntreprise.com, the entrepreneurs who have started their own businesses can get an idea of the revenues they will make according to expenses and taxes they will have to pay.
France France, June 2014

 

Bizpora

Credit: Bizpora’s Facebook page

Credit: Bizpora’s Facebook page

Bizpora is an online couchsurfing platform for professional entrepreneurs looking for accommodation during their business trips. The platform connects entrepreneurs around the world, to either host or be hosted by others. Users are thus put in touch with other entrepreneurs that welcome them in their own local homes. This service represents an opportunity to build professional relationships with other entrepreneurs, establishing networks likely to help young CEOs grow their businesses.
United-Kingdom United Kingdom, November 2013

 

Piggybackr

Credit: Piggybackr’s Facebook page

Credit: Piggybackr’s Facebook page

Piggybackr is a new platform that aims to educate extra-young entrepreneurs on how they can use crowdfunding to obtain the necessary funds for their projects. Since most major crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter don’t allow minors, Piggybackr offers a platform for young entrepreneurs, including those under 13 years of age– with the permission of their parents or teachers – to launch a fundraising campaign. Each young entrepreneur can then send invitations to members of their family or their school, making Piggybackr an educational platform before young entrepreneurs become old enough to have more expensive business ideas.
United States of America United States, May 2013

 

Bonjour Idée

Credit: Bonjouridee.com

Credit: Bonjouridee.com

Bonjour Idée” is the first collaborative magazine about the world of startups and entrepreneurship. The platform lists new startups and allows them to communicate about their news in order for them to increase their visibility and reputation. It also provides readers with resources that are necessary to first entrepreneurial initiatives such as innovative concepts or online users’ reviews. Online readers, who are entrepreneurs, consultants, investors and other professionals, can share their opinions and comments as well as communicate if they are interested in a new project. The magazine categorizes startups by theme, and also provides articles written by experts who share their vision about entrepreneurship, marketing and new business.
France France, September 2014

Business & Marketing guidelines

1

Tell your consumers a story about how and why your brand was born. Putting people at the forefront of your brand gives it a human touch. It makes consumers get on the bridge that connects them to the brand, celebrating human successes and acknowledging the hard work, struggles and battles of the people who make up a business. Allow people to be the stars of your show to create an emotional connection with consumers.

2

Put honesty and authenticity in front of your business. Consumers are getting used to the presence and credibility of small-scale businesses and they not only give more value to small but courageous initiatives but they also grant more merit to local providers that are true to their origins.

3

Bring your support to others. Show you are open to innovation and are willing to change the existing system. Don’t hesitate to partner, collaborate and help startups that have potential to grow. Walking hand in hand with other businesses will enhance your reputation and will help you achieve growth and success together.

4

Be innovative and disruptive. Keep in mind that young entrepreneurs are savvy: they have a good analysis of the market you are acting in and they know where growth opportunities are and they are ready to launch innovative concepts to harness the potential of niche segments. Keep aware of the latest innovations and don’t hesitate too long before launching breakthrough ideas to stay competitive in the face of this daring generation.

Summary

  • With traditional career paths shaking, Millennials are increasingly exploring escape routes and fallback options, hoping to gain some stability and independence from their employer’s fate.
  • According to the “Millennials and the future of work” survey commissioned by Millennial Branding and ODesk, today 90% of people think entrepreneurship is a mindset rather than actually starting a company. 72% of people want to quit their job to be entirely independent and 61% say they are likely to quit within two years.
  • Some of the drivers leading young adults to create their own business include the freedom it brings, the possibility to define the contours of their personal passions and ambition and the flexibility it offers.
  • Government support, encouragement from family and friends, coworking places, coffee shops and business school incubators are providing a supportive environment to encourage people to take such risky initiatives.

Experts that we recommend

jean-yves-bernard Jean-Yves Bernard
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julien-eymeri Julien Eymeri
Founder of travel agency Quartier Libre
flora-bernard Flora Bernard
Founder of philosophy agency Théa Conseil
anne-gautier Anne Gautier & Quentin Billey
Founders of French fablab Draft Ateliers